Devoted designers prove that success is all in the details later designers have learned of his designs, as it is available in a wide range of products from street signs, billboards and cutlery. The award is one of the few Danish scholarships named after a particular designer and is only rewarded to a designer. As a scholarship from one of a deceased Danish design pioneers, there is a special aura about it. The distributed portion has been very modest. The Memorial scholarship was founded in 1932 in memory of the pioneering and versatile designer Engelhardt, and except for a few years, the Memorial scholarship has 1933 annually awarded a designer since 1933 that has proven to possess special shaping skills, preferably in the areas that constituted the core of Engelhardt’s work: street furniture, design for home, tool, book printing, font design and textiles. 2 In 1923, Engelhardt began his work for the municipality of Gentofte. His work led to the beautiful, enamel signs with white letters on a black background and the iconic heart of the ‘‘j’’ in “road.” 3 Along the way, there has been a gradual changes to both the graphic design and the enamel signs themselves. However, Englehardt’s iconic use of high contrast and raised letters can be seen on most Danish house number plates throughout the country.
n recent years, Mads Quistgaard has solved innovative and bold typographic tasks ranging from the Danish banknote to sophisticated clock hands for Banedanmark. And the special project of developing type design for the new banknote is said to be an identity challenge with national character. Quistgaard received the prized Knud V. Engelhardt Memorial Award in February 2011. At the time he was the CEO of Pleks, a creative firm. The choice of Quistgaard as this year’s scholarship recipient was motivated on behalf of the board of trustees and graphic designer Bo Linnemann. Linnemann is also the creative director at Kontrapunkt, a Danish firm that takes on a massive amount of global clients. They are best known for their creative campaigns that incorporate their own type faces. After Quistgaard received the award, he was hired as Senior Partner & Design Director at Linnemann’s firm. Engelhardt was Denmark’s first in the modern sense of a functionalist architect. As he was based in Thorvald, he created the opportunity for a Danish tradition paired with a rational Danish idiom of democratic, industrialized mass production. His early death stopped his immediate influence on posterity, but many
MADS QUISTGAARD Senior Partner & Design Director, Kontrapunkt FAVORITE DESIG N It’s amazing the way that smartphones are helping to facilitate change in how we communicate 1
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Mads Quistgaard was awarded the Knud V. Engelhardt Memorial Scholarship for his tireless work to raise awareness of and respect for Danish typographic design...
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KNUD V. ENGELHARDT Father of Danish industrial type BRIEF CV (1882-1931) Architect Printer Industrial designer Type designer NOTABLE PROJECTS Gentofte Municipality street signage and Copenhagen University library seal
Engelhardt was Denmark’s first modern functionalist architect. His early death stopped his immediate influence, but many later designers have learned from his work, as it is seen in a wide range of products from street signs and billboards to cutlery.
CHARACTERISTICS OF TYPICAL DANISH TYPE The Danish design tradition is associated with the Danish Modern movement, which from the 1950s put Denmark on the international map of design, especially with furniture and objects for everyday use. The 20th century also saw the development of a specifically Danish tradition of type design. The typeface for street signs in Gentofte City made Engelhardt one of the best known figures in the Danish design tradition. For example, his life’s work is included in the Canon of Danish Design and Handicrafts established by the Danish Ministry of Culture. Engelhardt is unique, but he is not alone; others before him and many more after him have contributed to the Danish tradition of type design. The line of development that Steen Ejlers, author of several esteemed design books, begins by documenting Thorvald Bindesbøll, whose life’s work is also included in the Canon and continues through Engelhardt to Gunnar Biilmann Petersen, Naur Klint and Claus Achton Friis and on to contemporary graphic designers including Ole Søndergaard and Linnemann. 4 This tradition is rooted in one specific educational setting: the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture. “The unique feature of Danish type design is its intimate link with the architectural discipline,” Ejlers explains. Steen Ejlers points to the key role that Engelhardt played in the development of a specifically Danish tradition of type design. “Engelhardt is the first architect in Denmark to specifically address type design, and he proved, especially with his project for Copenhagen Railway Company in 1910, that he was a sort of an ideal designer, capable of designing both in two and three dimensions, thus embracing both graphic and industrial design. And Engelhardt in turn is very
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A Characteristic of Engelhardt’s signature typeface includes hearts over the ‘‘j.” Vej means street in Danish and ends a majority of street signs.
difficult to understand without considering the influences he received from Bindesbøll, who despite his background as an architect also moved into, and made a name for himself in, the field of applied art. He experimented with expanding his field of expression in the direction of craft and graphic design. Bindesbøll designed the original logo type of Carlsberg in 1904. It was later complimented with Kontrapunkt’s typeface for the brand. It is in this field of tension between art and design that type design develops. At the same time, it is an essential feature that the typefaces that are developed are not exclusively intended for printing. The digital age has become prominent.
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Top: Trim by Goran Soderstrom, 2012 Bottom: Knud V. Engelhardt’s alfabet, 1927
KONTRAPUNKT’S DYNAMIC, ORIGINAL TYPEFACES The design of the lower case “g” is the most identifiable characteristic of the typeface Via, designed for DSB. DSB is the country’s rail system. The open loop of the “g” is derived from the Danish signage tradition. The feature arose from the simple need to use the available space on a sign in the best way possible. Less leading is required with this modification, so more lines can fit well in a given depth. The open ‘g’ had been a feature of Danish railway signs for decades, and when it came time to design the new typeface, “It just didn’t feel right to lose it,” says Linnemann. The open ‘g’ can still be seen on old street signs in some of the older parts of Copenhagen. Erik Spiekermann has named this ultra-open ‘g’ as ‘the Danish g.’” 5 DSB’s use of Via is an example of how a custom typeface can be used at its highest potential as a branding element. Through constant and consistent use of Via by DSB’s marketing team since 1997, the typeface promotes the brand wherever it is presented: posters, train carriages, websites and advertisements. Hence, custom typefaces carry the same personality and style as handwriting did before the digital age.
Kontrapunkt restaurant 1 Noma DA.WIKIPEDIA.DK is the chef behind Noma’s new visual 2 Movia WWW.KONTRAPUNKT.DK identity: a new for DSB 3 Typeface and spectacular WWW.KONTRAPUNKT.DK way of presenting Bank 4 Danske WWW.KONTRAPUNKT.DK the world’s best restaurant. 5 Apotek WWW.KONTRAPUNKT.DK Noma is about achieving 6 Carlsberg WWW.KONTRAPUNKT.DK gastronomic Airport perfection with a 7 Billund WWW.KONTRAPUNKT.DK deep respect for Faurschou 8 Gallery the geographical WWW.KONTRAPUNKT.DK context that the consumer perceives. This has been the design driver for the company as well as the Nordic design tradition. The design should never be in focus, but like a delicate, white plate presenting the Noma creations in the best way possible. The restaurant is known for serving deep fried deer moss, bone marrow, poached quail egg and aged oyster. With strong inspiration from Nordic nature and from the simplicity of Noma, the visual concept is thought into several elements. Instead, they are presented to draw attention to Noma’s most important and unique assets: the ingredients.